In response to the ABC’s Four Corners program which aired on the 30th of May 2011, the Australian public and media has contacted the Embassy by telephone, letters and e-mail expressing their outrage at what was discovered in the program’s investigations. The Embassy apologizes for the distress the viewing has caused, and believes that the practices of the abattoirs as mentioned in the program should immediately be corrected according to the guidelines as outlined by the Indonesian meat-selling industry and the Halal certification body.
Indonesians themselves are appalled at these findings, especially considering that the widely-accepted convention in preparing Halal food stipulates the humane killing of livestock with proper Islamic prayers beforehand and applying one quick stroke in the jugular area to guarantee the least amount of pain to the animal. This principle underlies the expectations of the general public in Indonesia, almost 90% of which are Muslims who expect nothing less than a strict adherence to this Halal stipulation.
As recently as 2009, the Indonesian Government updated its regulations on animal welfare through the Bill on Livestock and Animal Health (Bill no.18 of 2009) that clearly states that preparing meat must fulfill the health requirements as outlined by the Veterinary and Animal Welfare Community, while also fulfilling the religious techniques upheld by society in general. Additionally, this Bill also dictates that the killing of animals for their meat must be done in the best manner possible, specifically that the animal must be free from pain, fear, pressure, misuse and torture.
As civilized citizens, Indonesians will no doubt take these findings to relevant authorities to make sure the abattoirs depicted in the program will face sanctions. Out of the 160 abattoirs in Indonesia, the bad ones must be found and their practices terminated. Most important is to make sure that the bad treatment of animals is stopped and never again allowed to happen. The Embassy welcomes any support that the Australian Government and the Australian export cattle industry can provide to the destination abattoirs so that animal welfare is upheld in a way that both Australians and Indonesians see fit. The Embassy hopes that the outcome can raise animal welfare to its highest levels in Indonesia while maintaining the trade between our two countries, keeping Australian beef an attractive option for Indonesia’s 235 million consumers while protecting the cattle export industry in Australia.
Thank you for your continued interest towards Indonesia.
Perth, 1 June 2011